Earth Moving Machines

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 124 - 51 year old CAT 12 working hard upgrading the roads at Sandstone Estates

18th August 2006

We werent kidding when we sold our 5 year old 120H Road Grader with the intention of bringing an elderly machine out of retirement.

Here is our 51 year old CAT 12 working hard upgrading the roads at Sandstone Estates.

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 136 - Improved asset management - in with the old and the new

15th September 2006

Sandstone Estates has commenced a programme whereby it is beginning to sell modern equipment but only if we have an item in our heritage collection which is of similar specification. This programme has been extremely successful. Nearly R10 million worth of capital equipment has been disposed of and has been replaced in all cases by vintage items which cost in total probably less than R200,000.

Obviously maintenance was necessary on the old items but they are working hard. Since we are not contractors we are not working to deadlines, and so if we have a road to grade or a dam to build we
are not under any particular deadline. Certainly the big improvement in the cash flow resulting from the implementation in this policy has been a positive move for the business and indicates a very improved level of asset management. Our photograph shows our CAT 120H leaving Sandstone Estates.

All its work functions have been replaced by our CAT 12 Grader seen working below.

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 145 - Sandstone Estates disposes off its D6R Dozer.

10th October 2006

A late model D6R Dozer that has worked at Sandstone Estates, particularly on the railway construction, has been disposed off in favour of its classic 1950's D8 Dozer which is capable of doing similar work. This policy of selling off late model expensive items and replacing them with low value items of similar technical specification improves our cash flow but more importantly enhances our reputation as a classic heritage centre.
Below: The D6R being loaded onto the flatbed.
our CAT 12 Grader seen working below.

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 177 - Familiar machine?

24th January 2007

Something interesting from Kerry Young in New Zealand is a picture of a Allen Trencher spotted at the Plains Railway Ashburton, South of Christchurch, New Zealand. This unit is identical to the one which has been restored by the Sandstone Heritage Trust and which will be operating during the Kelsey tour over the weekend of 18th February.

Heritage - News

10 Ruston Bucyrus Excavator donated to the Sandstone Heritage Trust

7th October (updated 26th October / 2nd November - see below)

A family in the Northern Cape have donated this interesting and valuable 10RB to the Sandstone Heritage Trust. We already have one but this 10RB is older than the one in stock. In addition the other 10RB is a face shovel whereas this is a back hoe. If we could locate a dragline, a skimmer and a crane boom we would end up with all the attachments. The back hoe is particularly effective for trenching and digs well even in heavy material.



Update: 26th October 2007

Ruston Bucyrus 10RB, Serial Number RB1 1339, Manufactured by Ruston Bucyrus Limited, Lincoln, England. Supplied through the South African agents Hubert Davies & Company Ltd, Johannesburg. 

My name is John Swinford. I live in Kimberley. Sandstone has been in touch with my mother Mrs. Cherry Swinford from whom a Ruston Bucyrus trench digger was collected. Here is some background on the machine.

The machine in question was fetched from the farm Picton near Douglas in the Northern Cape..

In September of 1968 my dad the late Stephen Swinford and family moved to the farm Picton where my dad took over a very run down flood irrigated farm. The farm could not be fully utilized as there were large areas where there salt content of the soil had reached toxic levels. In fact so bad in places that nothing grew there. In many areas to compound the problem there was also a permanent water table at about 300-400mm under the soil surface. For the first few years we were at Picton dad cleaned up and fixed what could be done but soon he realized that in order to get the farm properly productive again he would have to do something about the water table and the high salt content of the soil. From early on in my life I remember dad expressing his wish to leave whatever God had entrusted him with in a better state than when he had received it. This was for him particularly important about Picton.

With the advice of the local government extension officer the late Dries Steenkamp as well as a man from Czechoslovakia a Mr. Kalubick (I am not sure if my spelling of the name is correct) dad set out to drain the farm. The first thing he did was to open up a marsh area which had formed as a result of an earth wall that had been built at the bottom end of the farm. This took care of a lot of surface water and then when it had dried up he started digging a trench in which to lay the drainage pipes. This initial digging was done by hand, which at the time, (1971) was not strange at all. This digging and drain laying carried on for months and as you can imagine progress was very slow. Due to this slow progress dad started looking round for a trench digger. At the time money was very tight so there was no question about buying a new machine. 

His search for a trench digger that he could afford led him to the Company, De Beers. A friend told him of the Ruston Bucyrus that had basically been parked off and would probably never have been used again as new hydraulic machines had been bought to replace the then roughly 20 year old Ruston Bucyrus. I am not absolutely sure of what he eventually paid for the machine but R500 comes to mind. The machine was basically in working order and after a few small repairs dad arranged for the operator from De Beers to come and give us training. At the time I was about 14 years old and fascinated by the machine and dad agreed that I could along with one of the farm staff were given training in operating the machine. I might add though that getting to work that lady smoothly was not easy by any means. Essential to proper operation is very good hand-foot-eye co-ordination that took Klein Johannes and myself many frustrating hours to master. Another thing that stands out in my memory is how slow it was to move the old lady. She moved along at nothing more than snails pace. It took literally hours to move from one part of the farm to another and Picton is only 107 ha in size.

From then on draining the farm moved on at a much more acceptable pace. Once the drainage project was completed there was not much more for the old lady to do and apart from a few small jobs she never did much after the drainage was completed. The one thing that I am glad to say is that she played a very important role in helping to fulfill my dad's dream of leaving the farm in a better state, for the next generation, than what he had received it. In fact when he passed away two years ago there was only a very small piece of ground still not completely rehabilitated. As of writing this, that last piece of ground is virtually back to full production. 


Update: 2nd November 2007

The 10RB, No. RB11339, has arrived safely at its new home at Sandstone Estates. 

We need to cram it into the restoration queue and get it digging as soon as possible.


Article in Classic Plant & Machinery December 2007
Click the thumbnails for a larger version in a new window


Our D8H from the 1950's is still working and still bush clearing after all these months. The job is nearly completed which will add an extra 200 hectares of arable land to Sandstone Estates.

We have no conscience about this because we are removing Blue Gum trees which are invasive, non-indigenous and which have a huge appetite for water.

We have put a new operator onto the machine, namely Thabiso, who is extremely experienced. He is our most versatile operator. He can operate anything and he has a wonderful touch with these machines.

Our trusty old 1950's D8H which was brought into service to replace an almost brand new D6H which we felt was not powerful enough for the job has recommences bush clearing invasive species at Sandstone Estates (Pty) Ltd.

It is amazing what can be achieved with a machine that is over 50-years old.

Is this heritage or is it contracting?

It is the time of the year when rainfall and storms can cause damage to our roads. At Sandstone Estates we have a policy of minimal road maintenance because we believe that our roads are the primary cause of soil erosion. A perfect road at Sandstone Estates is completely grassed over (click here to view that article) which means that there is no maintenance needed and there is no problem with wash aways. However, in certain locations we are having to reprofile the roads before we grass them.

In this regard we sourced this wonderful old Dump truck from a retired Civil Engineering contractor, Zach van Staden, near Bloemfontein. We have asked Zach for background information and details of its exact age.

In line with our policy of enhancing the concept of living preservation we sold our Bell 20-ton Dump truck and replaced it with the Foden.